Does crowd funding work

posted by Bridget on 19 August 2013

The media is full of success stories, so just how do they persuade people to back their projects

Kickstarter is perhaps the most famous crowd of the funding organisations around, all built on the premise of people presenting their project, target funding amount and a time scale.

To protect the backers, the projects are only successful if they achieve the target amount. If they don't then the backers get their money back and the project goes unfunded.

So just how are budding book publishers, film makers and musicians managing to persuade people to cough up money on a promise.

If you look at the successful projects then it becomes clear that there are two main factors which help it to work. Firstly the project needs to be able to give the funders something in return. Your name in a book; on a film credit or in a concert programme are often the entry level points, so for a few pounds you can get your name in lights. The most popular offering is a copy of the actual project - a CD, a ticket to the film or concert, a book. If your project is too ephemeral and offers nothing much more than a warm glow for helping someone to be creative, you are unlikely to succeed in raising the target funds.

The second important factor in making crowd funding work is not to rely on the crowdfunding organisation to publicise your project. You have to do this yourself. Facebook, twitter, newsletters and blogs are all vehicles you should use to send out your message - old fashioned marketing and PR. While some projects will get lucky and feature on the Kickstarter Staff Picks section, most will not. So you should view the crowd funding site as a facilitator, a place to make your backers feel comfortable in handing over their money.

Carolyn Drake's project to fund herself published book Two Rivers is a great example of how to do it right. Her video presentation is clear in its message and has visuals from the book. Her offerings to potential backers are varied enough to allow for affordable entry points as well as persuading her more wealthy supporters to pay more. And she has 4500 friends on Facebook - a great place to get her message out to a wider audience.

carolyn drake

Click on the image to read more about Carolyn's kickstarter campaign.

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